Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 09/12/2011 | The Saw Doctors – O2 Academy, Oxford

09/12/2011 | The Saw Doctors – O2 Academy, Oxford

Lisa Ward


A Saw Doctors show is pretty much a dance-meets-karaoke session for incapacitated drunks. Whilst Tommy K has one less move than the YMCA (albeit with similar arm formed letters), Hay Wraps boasts a simple finger wave; in essence it’s a Steps concert with a little less cheese. This is by no means a bad thing. Given tonight is part of their 20th anniversary tour (and annual run of Christmas shows) it is in fact quite the opposite. I can’t deny there are more receding hair lines and wrinkles than the early days, but the band still kick out every song as if it’s the first time, with passion and gusto.

The anthemic  Green and Red of Mayo meets with a sea of off-key singing from the crowd, whilst Clare Island highlights their ability to switch from upbeat rock to more heartfelt ballads in the blink of an eye.  Couple this with latest single Downtown (which sadly lacks the duet with Petula Clark as per the recorded version) and previous single About You Now (The Sugababes cover which topped the Irish chart) and their versatility becomes evident. It’s not however just their ability to create songs with catchy choruses fused over pounding riffs, but also their capacity to fill a live show with an abundance of energy.

Leo and Davy have a winning formula when it comes to working the stage, both carrying their own presence whilst neither dwarfing the other. Meanwhile, lyrically there might be nothing particularly deep, politics taking a back seat to odes about Ireland and songs about girls, but that’s what makes it work. Whether you’re waving your pint in the air to N17 or singing along with To Win Just Once as if your life depends upon it, one thing you’re guaranteed is a good time.

Whilst I’m personally disappointed that Joyce Country Ceili Band doesn’t make the set, it only really serves to show that the Saw Doctors have so many classic songs it would be impossible to deliver them all. Instead I am left happy shouting  ‘Go on outta that, we don’t believe you’ to That’s What She Said Last Night and satisfied that now The Saw Doctors have played, it means Christmas is definitely on the way.


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